Athletics Writer | November 27, 2017
In dramatic, come-from-behind fashion, the No. 6/6 University of Notre Dame women’s basketball team knocked off defending national champion No. 3/2 South Carolina, 92-85, to win the Gulf Coast Showcase tournament championship on Sunday.
With the win, Notre Dame (6-0) snapped South Carolina’s (6-1) 17-game winning streak and recorded its first victory against a top-five team since it defeated the Gamecocks at the 2015 Final Four in Tampa.
How It Happened
South Carolina opened the game with an 8-0 run, but the Irish quickly responded with a combined 12 first-quarter points from Arike Ogunbowale and Kathryn Westbeld. The Irish, which allowed four three-pointers in the period, finished the quarter trailing 28-18.
In the second period, the Irish found themselves down 33-24 at the 5:51 mark but responded with a 12-2 run, which was later extended into a 17-5 run, and capped by a Marina Mabrey three-pointer in the final seconds. Notre Dame ultimately outscored South Carolina 23-10 in the period to take a 41-38 lead into halftime.
The Irish wasted no time adding to their lead, accounting for the first six points of the half and running out to a 55-42 lead at the 5:42 mark of the third quarter. Back-to-back layups by Kristina Nelson and Jackie Young helped cap Notre Dame’s 14-4 run and 25-point swing after it trailed by as many as 12 points in the second period.
The Gamecocks cut the Irish lead to 59-51 with 2:07 remaining in the third, but the Irish regained their double-digit lead at 66-55, courtesy of Mabrey’s second three-pointer and four straight points from Young.
South Carolina attempted to mount a comeback in the final period, when A’ja Wilson scored 18 of the team’s 30 points, but the Gamecocks could not keep pace with the Irish. Led by Ogunbowale’s 10 points and critical free throws in the fourth quarter, Notre Dame held off the Gamecocks, defeating South Carolina 92-85 to take home the Gulf Coast Showcase title.